Achiel van der Mandele

Author Archives: Achiel van der Mandele

Announcing Argo for Spectrum

Announcing Argo for Spectrum
Announcing Argo for Spectrum

Today we're excited to announce the general availability of Argo for Spectrum, a way to turbo-charge any TCP based application. With Argo for Spectrum, you can reduce latency, packet loss and improve connectivity for any TCP application, including common protocols like Minecraft, Remote Desktop Protocol and SFTP.

The Internet — more than just a browser

When people think of the Internet, many of us think about using a browser to view websites. Of course, it’s so much more! We often use other ways to connect to each other and to the resources we need for work. For example, you may interact with servers for work using SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), git or Remote Desktop software. At home, you might play a video game on the Internet with friends.

To help people that protect these services against DDoS attacks, Spectrum launched in 2018 and extends Cloudflare’s DDoS protection to any TCP or UDP based protocol. Customers use it for a wide variety of use cases, including to protect video streaming (RTMP), gaming and internal IT systems. Spectrum also supports common VoIP protocols such as SIP and RTP, which have recently seen an increase in DDoS ransomware attacks. A lot of Continue reading

Magic WAN & Magic Firewall: secure network connectivity as a service

Magic WAN & Magic Firewall: secure network connectivity as a service
Magic WAN & Magic Firewall: secure network connectivity as a service

Back in October 2020, we introduced Cloudflare One, our vision for the future of corporate networking and security. Since then, we’ve been laser-focused on delivering more pieces of this platform, and today we’re excited to announce two of its most foundational aspects: Magic WAN and Magic Firewall. Magic WAN provides secure, performant connectivity and routing for your entire corporate network, reducing cost and operational complexity. Magic Firewall integrates smoothly with Magic WAN, enabling you to enforce network firewall policies at the edge, across traffic from any entity within your network.

Traditional network architecture doesn’t solve today’s problems

Enterprise networks have historically adopted one of a few models, which were designed to enable secure information flow between offices and data centers, with access to the Internet locked down and managed at office perimeters. As applications moved to the cloud and employees moved out of offices, these designs stopped working, and band-aid solutions like VPN boxes don’t solve the core problems with enterprise network architecture.

On the connectivity side, full mesh MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) networks are expensive and time consuming to deploy, challenging to maintain, exponentially hard to scale, and often have major gaps in visibility. Other architectures require backhauling Continue reading

Introducing Magic Firewall

Introducing Magic Firewall
Introducing Magic Firewall

Today we’re excited to announce Magic Firewall™, a network-level firewall delivered through Cloudflare to secure your enterprise. Magic Firewall covers your remote users, branch offices, data centers and cloud infrastructure. Best of all, it’s deeply integrated with Cloudflare One™, giving you a one-stop overview of everything that’s happening on your network.

Cloudflare Magic Transit™ secures IP subnets with the same DDoS protection technology that we built to keep our own global network secure. That helps ensure your network is safe from attack and available and it replaces physical appliances that have limits with Cloudflare’s network.

That still leaves some hardware onsite, though, for a different function: firewalls. Networks don’t just need protection from DDoS attacks; administrators need a way to set policies for all traffic entering and leaving the network. With Magic Firewall, we want to help your team deprecate those network firewall appliances and move that burden to the Cloudflare global network.

Firewall boxes are miserable to manage

Network firewalls have always been clunky. Not only are they expensive, they are bound by their own hardware constraints. If you need more CPU or memory, you have to buy more boxes. If you lack capacity, the entire network suffers, directly Continue reading

Announcing support for gRPC

Announcing support for gRPC

Today we're excited to announce beta support for proxying gRPC, a next-generation protocol that allows you to build APIs at scale. With gRPC on Cloudflare, you get access to the security, reliability and performance features that you're used to having at your fingertips for traditional APIs. Sign up for the beta today in the Network tab of the Cloudflare dashboard.

gRPC has proven itself to be a popular new protocol for building APIs at scale: it’s more efficient and built to offer superior bi-directional streaming capabilities. However, because gRPC uses newer technology, like HTTP/2, under the covers, existing security and performance tools did not support gRPC traffic out of the box. This meant that customers adopting gRPC to power their APIs had to pick between modernity on one hand, and things like security, performance, and reliability on the other. Because supporting modern protocols and making sure people can operate them safely and performantly is in our DNA, we set out to fix this.

When you put your gRPC APIs on Cloudflare, you immediately gain all the benefits that come with Cloudflare. Apprehensive of exposing your APIs to bad actors? Add security features such as WAF and Bot Management. Need Continue reading

Introducing Regional Services

Introducing Regional Services

In a world where, increasingly, workloads shift to the cloud, it is often uncertain and unclear how data travels the Internet and in which countries data is processed. Today, Cloudflare is pleased to announce that we're giving our customers control. With Regional Services, we’re providing customers full control over exactly where their traffic is handled.

We operate a global network spanning more than 200 cities. Each data center runs servers with the exact same software stack. This has enabled Cloudflare to quickly and efficiently add capacity where needed. It also allows our engineers to ship features with ease: deploy once and it's available globally.

The same benefit applies to our customers: configure once and that change is applied everywhere in seconds, regardless of whether they’re changing security features, adding a DNS record or deploying a Cloudflare Worker containing code.

Having a homogenous network is great from a routing point of view: whenever a user performs an HTTP request, the closest datacenter is found due to Cloudflare's Anycast network. BGP looks at the hops that would need to be traversed to find the closest data center. This means that someone near the Canadian border (let's say North Dakota) could easily find Continue reading

Test your home network performance

Test your home network performance

With many people being forced to work from home, there’s increased load on consumer ISPs. You may be asking yourself: how well is my ISP performing with even more traffic? Today we’re announcing the general availability of speed.cloudflare.com, a way to gain meaningful insights into exactly how well your network is performing.

We’ve seen a massive shift from users accessing the Internet from busy office districts to spread out urban areas.

Although there are a slew of speed testing tools out there, none of them give you precise insights into how they came to those measurements and how they map to real-world performance. With speed.cloudflare.com, we give you insights into what we’re measuring and how exactly we calculate the scores for your network connection. Best of all, you can easily download the measurements from right inside the tool if you’d like to perform your own analysis.

We also know you care about privacy. We believe that you should know what happens with the results generated by this tool. Many other tools sell the data to third parties. Cloudflare does not sell your data. Performance data is collected and anonymized and is governed by the terms of Continue reading

Cloudflare for SSH, RDP and Minecraft

Cloudflare for SSH, RDP and Minecraft
Cloudflare for SSH, RDP and Minecraft

Almost exactly two years ago, we launched Cloudflare Spectrum for our Enterprise customers. Today, we’re thrilled to extend DDoS protection and traffic acceleration with Spectrum for SSH, RDP, and Minecraft to our Pro and Business plan customers.

When we think of Cloudflare, a lot of the time we think about protecting and improving the performance of websites. But the Internet is so much more, ranging from gaming, to managing servers, to cryptocurrencies. How do we make sure these applications are secure and performant?

With Spectrum, you can put Cloudflare in front of your SSH, RDP and Minecraft services, protecting them from DDoS attacks and improving network performance. This allows you to protect the management of your servers, not just your website. Better yet, by leveraging the Cloudflare network you also get increased reliability and increased performance: lower latency!

Remote access to servers

While access to websites from home is incredibly important, being able to remotely manage your servers can be equally critical. Losing access to your infrastructure can be disastrous: people need to know their infrastructure is safe and connectivity is good and performant. Usually, server management is done through SSH (Linux or Unix based servers) and RDP (Windows based Continue reading

Migrating from VPN to Access

Migrating from VPN to Access
Migrating from VPN to Access

With so many people at Cloudflare now working remotely, it's worth stepping back and looking at the systems we use to get work done and how we protect them. Over the years we've migrated from a traditional "put it behind the VPN!" company to a modern zero-trust architecture. Cloudflare hasn’t completed its journey yet, but we're pretty darn close. Our general strategy: protect every internal app we can with Access (our zero-trust access proxy), and simultaneously beef up our VPN’s security with Spectrum (a product allowing the proxying of arbitrary TCP and UDP traffic, protecting it from DDoS).

Before Access, we had many services behind VPN (Cisco ASA running AnyConnect) to enforce strict authentication and authorization. But VPN always felt clunky: it's difficult to set up, maintain (securely), and scale on the server side. Each new employee we onboarded needed to learn how to configure their client. But migration takes time and involves many different teams. While we migrated services one by one, we focused on the high priority services first and worked our way down. Until the last service is moved to Access, we still maintain our VPN, keeping it protected with Spectrum.

Some of our services didn't Continue reading

Spectrum for UDP: DDoS protection and firewalling for unreliable protocols

Spectrum for UDP: DDoS protection and firewalling for unreliable protocols

Today, we're announcing Spectrum for UDP. Spectrum for UDP works the same as Spectrum for TCP: Spectrum sits between your clients and your origin. Incoming connections are proxied through, whilst applying our DDoS protection and IP Firewall rules. This allows you to protect your services from all sorts of nasty attacks and completely hides your origin behind Cloudflare.

Last year, we launched Spectrum. Spectrum brought the power of our DDoS and firewall features to all TCP ports and services. Spectrum for TCP allows you to protect your SSH services, gaming protocols, and as of last month, even FTP servers. We’ve seen customers running all sorts of applications behind Spectrum, such as Bitfly, Nicehash, and Hypixel.

This is great if you're running TCP services, but plenty of our customers also have workloads running over UDP. As an example, many multiplayer games prefer the low cost and lighter weight of UDP and don't care about whether packets arrive or not.

UDP applications have historically been hard to protect and secure, which is why we built Spectrum for UDP. Spectrum for UDP allows you to protect standard UDP services (such as RDP over UDP), but can also protect any custom protocol Continue reading